Bigfoot Encounters

Verdict: 'It wasn't human'

Trackers pore over Bigfoot sighting near Granite Falls


GRANITE FALLS -- Maybe it was Bigfoot, maybe not. But "it wasn't human."

With magnifying glasses, notebooks and cameras in hand, like detectives after a case-breaking clue, Cliff Crook and Fred Bradshaw took to the woods Wednesday. They went in search of anything that might help them know if a Granite Falls high-tech worker actually saw Bigfoot.

Chris Wright, 29, who lives just east of the city limits, was taking a cigarette break on the porch of his mobile home just after midnight Monday. As something moved, the security lights on his house came on, and he heard a loud unhuman scream. When Wright looked, he saw a dark fur-covered creature, more than 6 feet tall standing on two legs.It had to have been Bigfoot.

That's what led Wright to Crook and Bradshaw, two Bigfoot hunters who have been tracing tales of the tall type for years. Both say they have seen either Bigfoot or his footprints. On Wednesday, Wright showed the Sasquatch experts where he was standing when he encountered the creature. He told them how tall Bigfoot looked. Crook pulled a carpenter's tape measure from his pocket and began sizing up the distance.

It was about 110 feet between Wright and where whatever he saw was standing. With that distance, Crook surmised that the creature had to have been more than 6 feet tall. Then the trio began its trip through the wooded edge of the property where Wright lives. They saw some broken tree limbs that could have happened when the creature ran after the lights came on. They stopped to investigate some hairs on a branch. "Too curly," Bradshaw said. They concluded the hairs probably belonged to Wright's Australian shepherd, Buddy. "Buddy's a good watchdog," Wright said. "But ever since the other night, he's been shaken up. He doesn't seem to want to go too far into the woods at all." Wright said he's also noticed that other wildlife, including deer and birds, have stayed away from the area. "Normally they're all through that area, especially in the morning," he said.

It's not uncommon for other animals to be reluctant to enter a place where a sighting has occurred, Crook said. "They usually move out when there's been a sighting," he said. "There's an eerie silence for a day or so, and then the animals come back and things return to normal." The search took them deeper into the woods where they saw what they thought were partial footprints. "They aren't good enough to make a casting," Crook said. "But that happens a lot. When Sasquatch is running, he steps with the ball of his foot, and all you can see are where he digs his toes into the dirt."

But by looking at the tracks, the experts said they could conclude that the creature had about a 36-inch stride, which would make him at least 6 feet tall. And Bradshaw concluded that the width of the ball of the foot in the tracks was too wide to belong to a bear. After trekking another 20 minutes into the woods north of Mount Pilchuck and along the southwest bank of the Stillaguamish River, the trio returned to Wright's house to pronounce its verdict."Whatever it was, it wasn't human," Crook said. "And there was definitely something big and huge down there, and it wasn't a bear," Bradshaw added. Wright looked partly scared and partly relieved at the findings.

"I know what I saw, and I know what I heard," he said. "But I know people are going to think I'm crazy. "I even heard people talking about it in town last night," Wright said, recalling conversations overheard at an eatery and a gas station. Since the word got out about his sighting, Wright's phone has been ringing constantly. "Even the National Enquirer called," he said.

Clean-cut with boyish looks, Wright grew up in Sedro-Woolley. A communications tower manager, Wright said he's talked to a dozen reporters. "When they start questioning me, I just tell them that if I was going to make up a story, I'd have had a UFO land in my backyard and take me off to outer space," he said. Right now, all he wants is for his life to return to normal. "But I guess that's not going to happen for a while," Wright said. "I can't even make myself go outside for my midnight smoke anymore."

Copyright The Herald of Everett, WA
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Bigfoot lurks in Granite Falls? By LESLIE MORIARTY Herald Writer

GRANITE FALLS -- All Chris Wright wanted was his midnight cigarette. He thinks he got Bigfoot instead. "I was not a firm believer in Bigfoot," said Wright, 29, a broadcast communications tower manager. "But after last night, I'm rethinking that." Wright stepped out on the back porch of his residence near Iron Mountain rock quarry around midnight Sunday to have his nightly cigarette. "I do that because I don't smoke in the house," he said.

After lighting his cigarette, Wright walked off the porch and into the yard. That activated the motion detectors, and security lights came on. "At that point, I heard a loud, high-pitched yell," he said. "I turned and looked to my right and that's when I saw him. I was looking right at the son-of-a-gun."

The creature stood about 7 feet tall, was dark in color and seemed to have fur, Wright said. He stood on two legs at the tree line about 75 feet away. "When the lights came on, he ran into the woods," Wright said. "It sounded like a human running through the woods."

Wright, an experienced hunter, said it wasn't a bear. "Bears don't run like that," he said. Wright said he didn't waste any time getting back in the house.

"I have guns in a gun case, and I was going for them when I decided to wake up my roommate and tell him what I saw," Wright said. "At first, he sort of laughed at me. But then he could see how shaken I was, and he began to believe me." Wright said he had seen a television show on Bigfoot sightings a few weeks ago. On that broadcast a tape of a Bigfoot yell was played. "What I heard sounded just like that," he said. "That's why I know this was Bigfoot." When morning came, Wright went out to look for footprints, but found none. Then he called Cliff Crook, a Bigfoot expert. Crook, of Bothell, said he knows of other Bigfoot sightings near and along the Mountain Loop Highway. "The last one was back in 1994," Crook said. "That one was near Verlot in the Robe Valley." Crook said in that case two motorists saw a "huge, hairy thing cross the highway." Crook followed up on that one, but didn't find any clues because of the rocky terrain. In all, Crook knows of about seven reports of Bigfoot sightings in the Granite Falls area. Most were in the 1970s.

Crook, who has been researching Bigfoot for 44 years, plans to go to the area today and hunt for clues. He'll look for places where Bigfoot may have rubbed trees, for fur droppings at the base of trees and for any signs of passage through the trees and brush. "I want to find out what was in the area," he said. "And I have ways of screening out any fakes."

Although 90 percent of the Bigfoot sightings prove to be "mistakes," Crook said Wright sounds genuine. Personally, he thinks there are about 100 sasquatches throughout the Northwest. "It's been a while since there was a good report up in that area," he said. "This may be it." Granite Falls police, however, said they didn't get any calls about Bigfoot sightings Sunday night. "I haven't ever gotten any in the five years I've been here," officer Rich Michaelsen said.

Wright said the clearing along the Mountain Loop Highway in recent months for the new CSR Associated gravel quarry may have upset Bigfoot and sent him into more populated areas.

But Warren Hawkridge, spokesman for CSR, said employees haven't reported seeing any signs of Bigfoot. Wright worries that people will think he's nuts. "I thought all those guys who said they saw Bigfoot were loony," he said. "But I know what I saw. ... It had to be Bigfoot. Nothing else is that big or that tall."
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You can call Herald Writer Leslie Moriarty at 425-339-3436

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